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How To Deal With Conjunctivitis

March 22nd, 2012 Healthy Living

Conjunctivitis - better known as pinkeye - is an ocular infection that is frequently caused by bacteria. Its most frequent symptoms include inflammation of the eyelids, increased tearing, redness and a generally gritty feeling in the eyes. According to the National Institutes of Health, about half of all conjunctivitis cases are caused by bacteria.

1. Causes. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are both highly contagious. If you find yourself coming down with an infection, you may have come into contact with someone carrying the disease. There are other causes, but these don't produce a contagious form - irritated eyes as a result of allergies is an example of non-contagious conjunctivitis.

2. Symptoms. Chances are, you will notice if you start coming down with pinkeye. It tends to manifest in the early stages with increasing itchiness. Eventually, your eyelids may start to swell and turn pink and a mucousy discharge may appear. Another frequent symptom is the development of a crustiness around the eye while you sleep.

3. Treatment. The moment you think you're getting pinkeye, call out sick from work and make an appointment with a doctor. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients can be contagious for as much as two weeks after symptoms begin. You can expect your conjunctivitis to clear up on its own after two to five days. However, your doctor may give you antibiotics, which can speed up the process.

While getting over the illness, try to avoid going outside. Conjunctivitis can be very contagious, and if you're not careful you could be unwittingly spreading the disease to others. Be sure to wash your hands frequently and be discrete about what you touch.